Eco Factor: Net zero-energy home gets powered by rooftop solar panels, harvested rain and gray water.
This year’s Solar Decathlon competition has kept universities craving for the next-gen technology that can be integrated into smart homes of the future. Virginia Tech’s entry to the competition is named Lumenhaus and just like other competitors, the house is designed to sport off-grid sustainable living.
The Lumenhaus home is an 800-square-foot, 1-bedroom residence with an open floor plan that can be extended to the outside decks. The house integrates an innovative Eclipsis System developed by the same institute that uses advanced weather monitoring systems to automatically open or close the shading system.
The Eclipsis System also offers advanced insulation, thanks to the use of aerogel, which allows natural light to illuminate the interiors and stops summer heat or winter cold. The roof of the house is composed of double efficient solar cells, which are bifacial and enhance the energy generated by as much as 15%.
Other green systems that will be introduced in the house include gray water recycling, rainwater harvesting, radiant floors, energy-efficient LED lighting and a home management system. In addition to all this, the house can also be controlled by smart phones to allow the owners to switch off any appliance that has been carelessly left operating even when no one is at home. And did we mention that the car parked outside the house in the top image does seem great?